The trade status of Jakob Chychrun dominated the NHL rumor mill prior to the recent holiday roster freeze. While the 24-year-old Arizona Coyotes defenseman will remain the subject of media speculation, teammate Phil Kessel was suggested as a possible trade target for the Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers.
Boston Hockey Now's Jimmy Murphy included Kessel among his list of trade options for the Bruins. He thinks bringing the 34-year-old winger back to Boston could provide them with the middle-six scorer they desperately need once they can find a taker for Jake DeBrusk. Meanwhile, the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson tweeted the Oilers could make a “strong play” for Kessel as a second-line right winger if the Coyotes would retain half of his salary.
Cap Friendly shows the winger in the final season of his eight-year contract. His full annual cap hit is $8 million but the Coyotes' share is $6.8 million while the Toronto Maple Leafs retained $1.2 million. He also carries an eight-team trade list.
Kessel isn't the scoring star he once was but he's put up a respectable 21 points in 30 games with the low-scoring Coyotes. He was their leading scorer last season with 20 goals and 43 points in 56 games. His 930 consecutive-game streak sits third among the NHL's Ironman leaders. He's also a two-time Stanley Cup champion with considerable postseason experience.
A trade to a playoff contender could provide Kessel an opportunity to prove his worth in a contract year. The rebuilding Coyotes could set a draft pick or two as their asking price at the March 21 trade deadline. However, convincing them to retain half his salary could require an additional pick or perhaps a quality prospect.